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Myanmar Rohingya insurgent group ARSA declares ceasefire in state of Rakhine

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army has declared a one-month ceasefire and asked the government to follow suit. Myanmar and Bangladesh are facing a humanitarian crisis as the Muslim minority group flees violence.

Myanmar's Rohingya insurgents on Monday declared a unilateral ceasefire starting on Sunday to enable aid groups to act on behalf of communities fleeing their villages.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) released a statement saying it would cease fighting for a month to help ease the humanitarian crisis unfolding on the country's border with Bangladesh.

Read more:  Myanmar's Rohinga rebels - What you need to know

It released the statement through its Twitter page.

"ARSA strongly encourages all concerned humanitarian actors resume their humanitarian assistance to all victims of the humanitarian crisis, irrespective of ethnic or religious background during the ceasefire period," the statement read.

Read more: Myanmar's Rohingya flee military crackdown and insurgency

It called on the Myanmar government to cease military operations in the northwestern Rakhine state.

ARSA's declaration drew no formal response from the military or the Myanmar government. However, the spokesman for Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Twitter: "We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists."

Nearly 300,000 Rohingya have fled to the border with Bangladesh, escaping a violent crackdown by the Myanmar government on ARSA following attacks on 30 police posts and an army base on August 25.

So far ARSA has not appeared to put up significant resistance against military forces.

Myanmar says its security forces are carrying out clearance operations to defend against ARSA, which the government has declared a terrorist organization.

International human rights group Amnesty International (AI) said it had confirmed that Myanmar's military used landmines near the border with Bangladesh after border guards reported what appeared to be injuries caused by anti-personnel mines.

The organization said the mines "have seriously injured at least three civilians, including two children, and reportedly killed one man in the past week," citing eyewitnesses and analysis by its weapons experts.

"Authorities must immediately end this abhorrent practice against people who are already fleeing persecution," said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's crisis response director.

Read more: Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi under fire

Opinion: The gray area in Myanmar's Rohingya conflict

On Saturday the United Nations said 290,000 people had fled into neighboring Bangladesh. But many more remained trapped on the Myanmar side.

"The UN and NGOs have not been very welcome in Rakhine and ... they are not able to operate and ensure the safety and security of their staff and volunteers," Joy Singhal of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

aw/jm (Reuters)

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